Over the weekend my family took the chance to go to our local movie theater and watch Captain Marvel. Another family joined us with their kids and sat a row in front of us. We bought our usual popcorn and two drinks and made our way into the theater (30 minutes early because I love to watch all the previews….even the local commercial spots).
People started arriving and the excitement continued to build. Finally, after yet another teaser setting up Avengers: End Game, the movie began. My overall take, this was a fun “filler” movie, nicely standing in the gap as we all wait until End Game arrives. My boys enjoyed it, even returning to our home and attacking any Kree enemies that made their way to our place.
It was a fun afternoon.
Movies and Worldviews
Now, I believe we should take every thought captive. We should watch television and movie screens with thoughtfulness. Though we may like the idea of “shutting down” from time to time, Christians simply do not shut off their minds at any doorway. Even when it comes to enjoying the good things of the earth, we want to think in Bible-saturated ways about what we are enjoying.
Therefore, I’m not upset that some websites and blogs evaluate movies like Captain Marvel. Indeed, I’m thankful for it. I’m glad when someone takes up the pen and helps me see the way the message of a movie might connect with my world. That’s service to us all. And yet, sometimes, those reviews miss the mark. When they do, I “chew the fish and spit out the bone.” That is, I take what is good and toss the rest.
For instance, Greg Morse recently wrote a review of Captain Marvel over at Desiring God. I have no doubt that Greg was trying to be faithful to his work. I’m sure he was trying to use his God-given mind to evaluate what Hollywood had produced. So, though the social media world has taken him to task, let me express my appreciation for Greg’s attempt to serve us. Though I think he missed the mark, I’m not under any impression that Desiring God and Greg Morse have jettisoned the Bible or their desire to help us think Christianly.
In the article Greg wrote, there are certain things that are correct. He is right to see the movie as pushing an unbiblical form of feminism, simply because the people who made the movie said so. And I am sympathetic to Greg’s concern about placing ladies on the front lines of battle. Yet, I don’t think the answer is painting a picture that locks women in 1950’s ideas of what it means to be feminine. This is precisely where complementarians (of which I am one) need to do better work. We need to pay attention and paint a better picture of both masculinity and feminity.
At the end of the day, what most people seem to want Greg (and the rest of us) to remember is that there are various accounts of strong and heroic women in the Bible. These female heroes were not sitting at home watching the kids or sleeping the day away while the kids were at school. No, they acted in heroic ways, even saving God’s people.
Pharaoh’s daughter, the Hebrew midwives, Esther and the like were used by God to “save the world.” As a (female) friend recently reminded me, “the problem is there are lots of women in the Bible who protected men and “saved the world.” But they did it in a way that expressed uniquely female strength and intelligence.”
That seems to be the rub. There is nothing wrong with female heroism. Instead, female heroism is beautifully (and biblically) right. The problem comes when we don’t let women be heroes as women but seek to make them men. We should not accept the idea that in order for a woman to be heroic, she needs to be masculinized. Heroism is something both men and women can (and should) embody. After all, strength, courage, dignity, wisdom and other virtues that are often associated with our heroes are not qualities restricted to men (see Proverbs 31). Instead, let women be heroic as women. Feminity can be (and is) capable of heroism of the highest order!
In The End
It doesn’t take a cultural guru to know that Hollywood pushes their agenda through their productions. We are not stupid. So at the end of the day, what message they are trying to communicate is certainly something we should evaluate. And, just like the articles we read, we will take what is good and toss the rest.
When it comes to the movie at hand, if Marvel tried to make Captain Marvel a man, I think they failed. She was a woman through and through. She just happened to be a woman who had the blue infinity stone coursing through her entire body.
And if my wife somehow was endowed with an infinity stone, I’d still step up to protect her, get my rear end kicked, and watch her shoot our enemies with lasers from her fists.